Monday, July 22, 2013

HWA's Disfellowshipping of His Son, Garner Ted Armstrong

Among post-1979 WCG members who continue to believe HWA's doctrines, HWA's disfellowshipping of Garner Ted Armstrong in 1978 is usually viewed as a regrettable but necessary measure he took to protect the church.

They say that Garner Ted Armstrong was seeking to secularize the church and was spiritually unfaithful to God thus weakening its ability to serve God, spread the gospel, and causing God's divine blessings to be withdrawn which, if things were not corrected as they were, could cause the church to disintegrate and be unable to fulfill its duties before God and humanity.

HWA portrayed those who fell out of his favor as covertly conspiring against him to seize power.

He also used highly emotive, yet vague, phrases (Bible truth was being rapidly watered down, God Almighty and Jesus Christ were virtually thrown out of the college -- and ... the Church!) to convince WCG members to be scared of those who fell out of HWA's favor and rally under the banner of HWA.

An example of this type of account can be seen in an article of his in the August 2, 1979 Pastor's Report. Here Garner Ted Armstrong, C. Wayne Cole and others who fell out of favor are portrayed as having tried for years to overthrow HWA. (Note that sometimes in this article HWA refers to himself in the third person.)
In those early days I used Raymond Cole, a pioneer student, as a "trouble-shooter," to restore peace where frictions had developed. He set up an office at Big Sandy, Texas. I moved him to Pasadena. Soon he moved to Eugene, Oregon. It was becoming extremely difficult for him to direct the growing ministry from there. ...

My son, Garner Ted, about this time began his own conspiracy to TAKE OVER the Church -- and if his father did not oblige him by dying, to put Herbert W. Armstrong [he meant "me"] into retirement. Ted brought four or five men in from the field to work on a peer basis with Wayne Cole in supervision over the ministry.
My comments regarding C. Wayne Cole may be seen at the end of this post.
After a period of time Mr. Cole managed to eliminate the others. Mr. Cole managed to set himself up as "the head" of the Ministry. ...

[Later] he was dispatched to Canada and Garner Ted put Ron Dart in as "head" of the Ministry. He was to a great extent a "Yes-man" to Garner Ted, and Ted's conspiracy to take over the Church -- by cutting his father [he meant "me"] off from the ministry, and by taking authority never delegated to him in two areas -- Policy setting and doctrine.

Ted and others had lobbied aggressively to get the college accredited. I refused for some time, saying it would be impossible to achieve accreditation and keep it GOD'S college. Their persistence, assuring me we could achieve accreditation and still keep it God's College, finally caused me to say, "Go ahead, then."

Result? A number of Ph.D's from various universities were brought into the college , and the Big Sandy student body was moved to Pasadena. Bible truth was being rapidly watered down and permissiveness escalated. God Almighty and Jesus Christ were virtually thrown out of the college -- and were rapidly being thrown out of the Church!

During these years from 1970 on, I was overseas a great deal of the time -- even up to 300 out of the 365 days of the year. Garner Ted had threatened ministers, or those who knew what was going on, with being fired if they communicated to me what was being done.

There came to be a total lack of response from ministers when I repeated requests during 1975 and thereafter. I was being SHUT OUT of all authority in the Church Christ had used me in starting and building. ...

Meanwhile, in these same years, a small group of self-professed "intellectuals" were busy preparing the STP (Systematic Theology Project).

I had repeated asked ministers to contact me personally on problems in the field -- but my requests fell on deaf ears.

Mr. Dart was sent away by Ted to Texas on a sabbatical for further study at the University of Texas. Garner Ted then brought C. Wayne Cole back as "head of the Ministry." He was Ted's tool working with Dr. Robert Kuhn and the "intellectuals."
Those who fell out of HWA's favor are accused of having long conspired against him.

In truth Herbert W. Armstrong cast out his own son because there was a vicious power struggle between Garner Ted Armstrong and Stanley Rader.
Rader had found out many years ago where all the ripe plums were, and finally [in 1978] it appeared that Garner Ted was going to stop him from picking them. ...

behind the scenes, Rader was not about to have his heavy influence over Herbert Armstrong undermined by Garner Ted. It wasn't long before confusion was to reign supreme over the entire organization. ...

There was no way after twenty years that Rader was going to let go of the Worldwide Church of God. After all, he recognized an opportunity at the beginning of his career [in 1955] and had patiently and masterfully moved himself into a position of power. He was not going to lose it. ...

now he [Rader] was going to take care of Garner Ted. The fact that he had supported Garner Ted on his return from exile in 1972 meant nothing. His support of Garner Ted at that time was only a practical consideration, since he realized that someone would have to be the front man for the organization and it may not be Herbert Armstrong for much longer. It was easy for him to support Garner Ted's return at that time knowing of his weakness for women, as this would be a tool that he could use to manipulate and control Garner Ted. But now things were different. Rader and Garner Ted had locked horns, and Rader was determined that this would be the last time.

On a Thursday, early in May 1978, Rader instructed Dr. Germano, the dean of Ambassador College, to call an emergency faculty and student meeting, complete with newspaper coverage. Garner Ted was never informed of this meeting. Germano then announced that the entire Ambassador College operation at both campuses was to be closed. This was the final blockbuster. No board meeting had been called, no vote taken on this move. Yet Ambassador College, a separately incorporated non-profit organization, was being capriciously closed at the whim of one man. Student acceptances were cancelled and faculty members were to be terminated. ...

It was becoming more and more obvious that Herbert Armstrong's ego problem did not allow for the sharing of the limelight with a son who had an ego just as large as his. Herbert Armstrong wanted his son to be a carbon copy of himself in all areas - except ego. He expected a grown man of forty-eight to say, in effect, "This is Sonny speaking for my Daddy." 
(This reminds me of what happened with Malcolm X. He tried to show his submissiveness by saying, in effect, I, Malcolm X, am speaking for the leader of my religion, Elijah Muhammad (who was born Elijah Robert Poole). He said this many times. Even this did not work for him. After discovering Elijah Muhammad's extra-marital shenanigans he left, converted to actual Islam, and was tragically murdered for leaving the cult. Bizarrely enough the Nation of Islam later embraced actual Islam, similar to how Tkach's WCG turned mainly Protestant.)
Herbert Armstrong seemed to feel that whatever he did was inspired directly by Christ, and that anyone else who did not do it his way was falling into the ways of the world. 
In 1973, after Garner Ted had been back from exile for some months, Herbert Armstrong, in turning over the reins of authority to his son, referred to Garner Ted as his "anointed heir." Now here is the great patriach five years later complaining that the anointed heir to whom he had given authority is making decisions on his own. Herbert Armstrong, the self-appointed apostle over a multimillion-dollar church, is trying to run the organization as though it were a candy store, exhibiting the best in tree-housemanagement mentality. ...
In the end HWA sided with Rader and this is why he cast out his own son.
One must wonder what type of a man this is, who, as a result of personal differences and jealousies, would ever treat his son in this manner. These developments, coming as they did only a few short months after everything seemed to be going so well in the Church, must make one wonder about the influence of Stanley Rader over Herbert Armstrong. What was it that enabled Rader to have his major threat, the son of the apostle, removed by that very same man? [Tuit later suggests Rader had embarrassing information on HWA and used it to blackmail HWA.] (John Tuit, The Truth Shall Set You Free, Chapter 7.)
(Much more valuable information about this tragic schism of the Armstrongs can be found in Tuit's book.)

Garner Ted Armstrong was not secularizing the church at all. It was HWA who actually secularized it. He was embarrassed of his tithe paying followers. When HWA met world leaders he hated admitting that he represented a church, the Worldwide Church of God.

That is why he created the Ambassador International Cultural Foundation (AICF). It was a front organization created to hide HWA's religious profession from the dignitaries he visited.

Also look at what Garner Ted Armstrong did in his own churches, the Church of God International, and, after he was caught on film committing shameful lewd acts, in the Intercontinental Church of God. Just look at the long list of religious articles he wrote. It is clear that he continued to preach many of the doctrines HWA taught until the day he died.

It should be clear that HWA's accusations that Garner Ted Armstrong was trying to secularize the church were total nonsense. He never tried to make his church anything other than teaching most of what HWA taught. There are some slight differences in doctrines and practices but what Garner Ted Armstrong taught after 1978 was essentially the same as what HWA taught.

HWA was lying when he claimed Garner Ted Armstrong was trying to secularize the church and that he was a threat to the religion HWA taught. No doubt there would have been a few differences between what HWA did and what Garner Ted Armstrong would do, but he never would have deviated from HWA's teachings as drastically as later happened.

HWA claimed his own son was destroying the true religion. Ironically he chose a man who really would destroy what WCG was and change it into essentially a mainstream evangelical church.

It is clear that HWA cast out his son out for base reasons. His justifications for disfellowshipping his own son were mainly lies or because of his own jealousy.

Sadly many those who stayed with WCG and later left Tkach's rule in order to continue with HWA's doctrines, HWA's sectarians, are still not aware of the sordid facts behind this schism and continue to believe HWA's false assurances that his disfellowshipping was a regrettable yet necessary act.

(Also it is particularly sickening to see how HWA demonizes C. Wayne Cole as being against him for years and years. Nothing, and I really mean nothing, could be further from the truth. In fact he was a loyal follower of HWA. After the receivership at first HWA was inclined to cooperate with the State of California. To do so he made C. Wayne Cole second in command of the church and sent him to Pasadena with this authority. Cole did not seek the limelight. In fact he was extremely nervous and even physically sick at the prospect of bearing such great responsibility. (Not least because he would have to face Rader as a rival.) But a few days later HWA changed his mind and decided to resist the receivership all the way. He appointed others and betrayed Cole by falsely accusing him of trying to overthrow him and of being a collaborator with the Receivers. He then accused Cole of being a traitor against him for years. He used such wild rhetoric against him because he was desperate to hide the fact that Cole was a loyal man that he viciously and cynically betrayed. Despite this vicious betrayal Cole continued to believe many of HWA's doctrines.)

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